UFC star Conor McGregor recently underwent surgery to repair fractures to his tibia and fibula sustained in a devastating loss to Dustin Poirier during UFC 264 on Saturday. During the procedure, surgeons placed a rod inside the fibula that required plates and screws to stabilize it.
In a new YouTube video yesterday, orthopedic surgeon and ringside doctor David Abbasi, MD, explained the surgery and what it could mean for McGregor’s future as a pro fighter. “Within Conor McGregor’s tibia is a titanium rod that is stabilizing it,” Abbasi says. “That bone is no longer able to be displaced with the fracture because it’s stabilized on the inside.”
The good news: Obviously, that means the leg is stable. The bad: It could take at least six weeks to heal before McGregor can walk on his own weight without any restrictions, Abbasi says, but he’s hopeful McGregor could begin putting weight on the leg sooner than that to help expedite his recovery.
(Look no further than the remarkably expedient progress made by fellow UFC fighter Chris Weidman, who sustained an equally serious injury during UFC 261 and is already back in the gym training.) Either way, Abbasi says, McGregor is in for a lot of physical therapy.
As for how it may affect his ability to fight, Abbasi says the titanium rod should add no extra weight—it’s extremely light and hollow. Once healed, McGregor should be able to kick and fight at full power. He could even carry a slight advantage due to the way the bone heals, as surgeon Chris Raynor outlined in a separate video earlier today.
“We’ve had many high-level elite athletes come back to the professional levels in not only mixed martial arts, but [the] NBA and NFL with injuries like this,” Abbasi says, adding that the injury wouldn’t necessarily make McGregor more susceptible to being hurt again. The rod should actually stabilize his leg forever, and shouldn’t need to be removed unless it poses a health risk.
The bottom line: If the bone stabilizes and he starts walking immediately, McGregor can likely get off the crutches within six weeks and begin working out again shortly after that, Abbasi says. “Long-term, as long as there’s no complications, no infections, no blood clots, or anything unforeseen, it’s very possible and likely we could see him fighting again in under 12 months.”
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